Updated 6/15: L+M Development Partners is not a developer in this project. According to a spokesperson, L+M's only role was assisting NYCHA in selling air rights. The post has been modified to reflect this.
There are proposed plans to build a 24-story, 166-unit residential building — including 50 "affordable" units — at the long-vacant lot on the SW corner of 14th Street and Avenue C. The development would include retail space and a community facility.
Tonight, CB3's Land Use, Zoning, Public & Private Housing Committee will hear a presentation from reps for New York City Housing Authority and Madison Realty Capital.
The corner property — 644 E. 14th St. — has been in a stalled-development mode for years. (This corner property last housed the single-level R&S Strauss auto parts store, which closed in April 2009.)
There are already approved plans here for a 15-floor mixed-use building, though there aren't any affordable units attached to this version. As revealed in the spring of 2021, several developers spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to lobby the city for NYCHA air rights to make this a larger structure with more housing.
This past spring, the NYCHA and Madison Realty Capital filed documents seeking a non-ULURP modification — known as an LSRD — to the development plan.
PincusCo first reported on this. Per their report:
The application seeks to modify the boundaries of the previously approved plans and zoning calculations by expanding the zoning lot to include 644 East 14th Street (Block 396, Lot 29). Through the zoning lot merger, the development rights from the existing LSRD comprised of Campos Plaza I and II, which are owned by a joint venture that includes NYCHA ... can be transferred to Block 396, Lot 29, a vacant property owned by Madison Realty Capital.
According to a presentation posted to the CB3 website, the benefits of this air-rights deal would:
• "Generate revenue for NYCHA, which will fund repairs exclusively at Campos Plaza II."
• "Enhance the pedestrian experience for both Campos Plaza and the surrounding community with new ground floor retail, ground floor community facility, lighting and new street trees."
• "Provide additional affordable housing units pursuant to the Affordable New York Program Option B."
• "MRC will commit to a resident hiring plan."
The presentation includes a rendering of the proposed building, a "massing evolution" and a slide on the "appropriateness of height" ...
As previously reported, Madison Realty Capital paid Opal Holdings $31.3 million for the property in May 2020. Opal Holdings bought the parcel in June 2016 for $23 million.
Concerns over new plans
Meanwhile, there are concerns about the plan for the larger-scale development.
One group of locals started a Facebook group to help notify residents of the ongoing plans at No. 644.
"While we are all for the development of that corner ... and the affordable housing element of the plans, we are not happy with the sheer size of the footprint and the excessive height that goes along with the proposal," one of the organizers told EVG. "We believe it will have countless negative effects on the local community and is out of place in this neighborhood. One major, immediate concern is that they have done little outreach and have kept plans for the project very quiet, which seems to be an obvious strategy to avoid any scrutiny from the local public."
Before a presentation last month prior to CB3's Land Use, Zoning, Public & Private Housing Committee, Tenants Taking Control, a group of 100-plus long-term tenants in 15 East Village buildings owned by Madison Realty Capital, spoke out against the plans.
In a "warning letter" to CB3 members and other local elected officials, the group, which has had Madison Realty Capital as a landlord since 2017, alleged: "We believe from first-hand experience that they disregard East Village tenant and community needs for their own financial benefit."
Tonight's committee meeting starts at 6:30. You can find the Zoom link here.